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Top industries in every state

  • Top industries in every state

    The United States economy is the largest on the planet, contributing almost a quarter of the gross domestic product (GDP) to the world's total economic activity each year. The country’s manufacturing sector is also a global powerhouse, responsible for the production of 18.2% of goods produced internationally and 11.6% of U.S. economic output overall. Still, some signs point to the historically popular industry shrinking: More than 60,000 U.S. manufacturing facilities have closed since 2001.

    Stacker mined 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to compile the top 10 industries in every state, ranked by each industry's contribution to the GDP. The data only analyzed private enterprises and not government business. In some cases, we’ve also included information about each state's economy as a whole, of which GDP is one factor. The biggest boons to U.S. economic growth in the second quarter of 2019 came from professional, scientific, and technical services; real estate and rental and leasing; and mining, according to the BEA’s data. Although manufacturing is the top industry in the country overall, it only ranked first in 17 states.

    Industries comprise sectors defined by the North American Industry Classification System, the standard federal agencies use to classify businesses to analyze data. Similar sectors, such as educational services, health care, and social assistance sectors, were combined into one industry for classification purposes. Some industries may appear noticeably lacking in the top 10 from certain states (agriculture from Mississippi, for example). The reason for this is that the BEA’s data represent direct contributions to the GDP, leaving off other sources of financial infusion to that industry such as government payments (and the aforementioned government business, as these numbers reflect private industry only).

    Read on to find out which industries in your home state are the most lucrative.

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  • Alabama

    - Top industries:
    - #1. Manufacturing ($37.6 billion, #23 among all states)
    - #2. Real estate and rental and leasing ($23.6 billion, #29)
    - #3. Professional and business services ($22 billion, #27)
    - #4. Educational services, health care, and social assistance ($17.7 billion, #27)
    - #5. Retail trade ($15.3 billion, #25)
    - #6. Finance and insurance ($13.2 billion, #27)
    - #7. Wholesale trade ($12.4 billion, #28)
    - #8. Construction ($7.8 billion, #30)
    - #9. Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services ($7.2 billion, #30)
    - #10. Utilities ($6.5 billion, #17)

    Alabama’s highest-growing job sectors from 2010 to 2017 were administrative and waste services, accommodation and food service, arts and entertainment, and manufacturing and transportation. Fortune 500 company Regions Financial—a bank and financial services company—is headquartered in Birmingham.

    Alabama boasts higher-paid manufacturing jobs than other manufacturing-heavy states like Mississippi and remains an attractive option for employers. Mazda Toyota Manufacturing in 2018 announced plans to sink $1.6 billion into an SUV plant in Huntsville that would employ up to 4,000 people when it opens in 2021 (construction is currently underway).

  • Alaska

    - Top industries:
    - #1. Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction ($9.3 billion, #9 among all states)
    - #2. Transportation and warehousing ($7.4 billion, #28)
    - #3. Real estate and rental and leasing ($5.2 billion, #47)
    - #4. Educational services, health care, and social assistance ($4.5 billion, #49)
    - #5. Professional and business services ($3.3 billion, #47)
    - #6. Retail trade ($2.3 billion, #49)
    - #7. Construction ($2 billion, #49)
    - #8. Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services ($1.9 billion, #48)
    - #9. Manufacturing ($1.8 billion, #50)
    - #10. Wholesale trade ($1.4 billion, #50)

    Alaska has the highest unemployment rate of any state, a fact economists say was exacerbated by $444 million in vetoes put forward by Gov. Mike Dunleavy in June 2019. Those erasures of line items (182 in all) from the state’s operating budget are widely expected to result in higher taxes and extensive public-sector job losses numbering between 4,500 and 7,000, according to one analysis by the Institute of Social and Economic Research.

  • Arizona

    - Top industries:
    - #1. Real estate and rental and leasing ($54.2 billion, #17 among all states)
    - #2. Professional and business services ($39.7 billion, #20)
    - #3. Educational services, health care, and social assistance ($34 billion, #19)
    - #4. Manufacturing ($28.9 billion, #27)
    - #5. Finance and insurance ($25.1 billion, #19)
    - #6. Retail trade ($24.4 billion, #14)
    - #7. Wholesale trade ($19.5 billion, #21)
    - #8. Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services ($16.6 billion, #18)
    - #9. Construction ($16.3 billion, #17)
    - #10. Information ($12.3 billion, #19)

    After Arizona officially became a state in 1912, the mining industry exploded and remained the top industry until the 1950s. Today, tourism is Arizona’s #1 export industry, with 45.5 million visitors flocking there from all over the world in 2018, bringing $24.4 billion to the state. Best Western is headquartered in Arizona, along with Cold Stone Creamery, GoDaddy, and U-Haul.

  • Arkansas

    - Top industries:
    - #1. Manufacturing ($19.3 billion, #32 among all states)
    - #2. Professional and business services ($13.8 billion, #33)
    - #3. Real estate and rental and leasing ($13.4 billion, #35)
    - #4. Educational services, health care, and social assistance ($12.1 billion, #33)
    - #5. Wholesale trade ($9.7 billion, #32)
    - #6. Retail trade ($8.9 billion, #35)
    - #7. Finance and insurance ($6.3 billion, #38)
    - #8. Transportation and warehousing ($5.4 billion, #35)
    - #9. Construction ($4.8 billion, #36)
    - #10. Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services ($4.2 billion, #37)

    Manufacturing jobs represent 12.7% of Arkansas' workforce and have climbed 8% since 2014—two full percentage points above the national average.

    The state also produces half of the rice in the United States. Transportation and logistics are also an important contributor to the state's economy, employing over 85,000 people at more than 80 distribution centers and 22 major trucking centers. But the top export in Arkansas is Aerospace, which adds $1.8 billion annually to the state's economy.

  • California

    - Top industries:
    - #1. Real estate and rental and leasing ($504 billion, #1 among all states)
    - #2. Professional and business services ($397.3 billion, #1)
    - #3. Manufacturing ($320.7 billion, #1)
    - #4. Information ($287.8 billion, #1)
    - #5. Educational services, health care, and social assistance ($218.3 billion, #1)
    - #6. Wholesale trade ($158.2 billion, #1)
    - #7. Finance and insurance ($155.6 billion, #2)
    - #8. Retail trade ($153.4 billion, #1)
    - #9. Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services ($130 billion, #1)
    - #10. Construction ($111.3 billion, #1)

    California has the largest economy in the United States and is home to some of the largest entertainment and fashion industries in the country. However, computer and electronic products straight from Silicon Valley bring in some of the most cash to California's economy.

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  • Colorado

    - Top industries:
    - #1. Real estate and rental and leasing ($55.2 billion, #16 among all states)
    - #2. Professional and business services ($54.6 billion, #16)
    - #3. Educational services, health care, and social assistance ($26.7 billion, #23)
    - #4. Manufacturing ($25.8 billion, #29)
    - #5. Finance and insurance ($21.9 billion, #21)
    - #6. Construction ($21.2 billion, #14)
    - #7. Wholesale trade ($20.5 billion, #20)
    - #8. Information ($20.2 billion, #11)
    - #9. Retail trade ($19.1 billion, #20)
    - #10. Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services ($19.1 billion, #15)

    Colorado's economy is evenly split in its landscape, with the farming industry operating in the eastern part of the state, the urban areas playing host to services and manufacturing, and the Rocky Mountains providing recreation areas, as well as petroleum and coal deposits. Within the services industry, which comprises the largest portion of the state's gross product, the top moneymakers are community, business, and personal services. The finance industry is another big contributor, with the state capital of Denver serving as an important financial and regional bank hub.

  • Connecticut

    - Top industries:
    - #1. Real estate and rental and leasing ($40 billion, #20 among all states)
    - #2. Finance and insurance ($37.7 billion, #12)
    - #3. Professional and business services ($33.7 billion, #21)
    - #4. Manufacturing ($29.7 billion, #26)
    - #5. Educational services, health care, and social assistance ($28.6 billion, #22)
    - #6. Wholesale trade ($17.7 billion, #23)
    - #7. Retail trade ($13.8 billion, #26)
    - #8. Information ($13.6 billion, #16)
    - #9. Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services ($9.4 billion, #28)
    - #10. Construction ($8.2 billion, #29)

    There are over 1,200 digital media companies doing business in Connecticut, including ESPN, which is headquartered in Bristol. Advanced manufacturing, bioscience, green technology, insurance, and financial services are among the other top industries in Connecticut and continue to grow. Three Fortune 500 companies—Cigna, Aetna, and United Technologies—also have headquarters in the state.

  • Delaware

    - Top industries:
    - #1. Finance and insurance ($21.9 billion, #22 among all states)
    - #2. Real estate and rental and leasing ($10.6 billion, #41)
    - #3. Professional and business services ($8.5 billion, #38)
    - #4. Educational services, health care, and social assistance ($6 billion, #44)
    - #5. Manufacturing ($4.8 billion, #43)
    - #6. Construction ($2.8 billion, #43)
    - #7. Retail trade ($2.8 billion, #47)
    - #8. Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services ($2.1 billion, #46)
    - #9. Wholesale trade ($2 billion, #47)
    - #10. Transportation and warehousing ($1.2 billion, #48)

    Wilmington is the heart of Delaware’s economy, serving as home to DuPont Co. and other large manufacturers. The smaller agricultural industry is still vitally important to Delaware's economy, and the state is a leading producer of broiler chickens while potatoes, soybeans, corn, and dairy products are also top exports. The state's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean also has given rise to tourism at places like Rehoboth and Bethany beaches and has significantly expanded the fishing industry with the growing export of crabs, clams, and oysters.

  • Florida

    - Top industries:
    - #1. Real estate and rental and leasing ($172.5 billion, #4 among all states)
    - #2. Professional and business services ($136.6 billion, #4)
    - #3. Educational services, health care, and social assistance ($100 billion, #4)
    - #4. Retail trade ($74 billion, #3)
    - #5. Wholesale trade ($70.8 billion, #4)
    - #6. Finance and insurance ($66.4 billion, #5)
    - #7. Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services ($63.7 billion, #4)
    - #8. Manufacturing ($56.2 billion, #13)
    - #9. Construction ($55.1 billion, #3)
    - #10. Information ($41.6 billion, #7)

    The Sunshine State is the world’s biggest travel destination and attributes 10% of its GDP to tourism alone, which is no surprise considering Florida's sunny beaches, theme parks, cruise ship ports, and golf courses. The incredibly successful tourism industry allows Florida to be one of only seven states with no state income tax. The southeastern region of the state leads the state's farming industry, producing about two-thirds of the oranges in the United States, in addition to a steady supply of winter vegetables.

  • Georgia

    - Top industries:
    - #1. Real estate and rental and leasing ($74.1 billion, #11 among all states)
    - #2. Professional and business services ($72.8 billion, #11)
    - #3. Manufacturing ($63.3 billion, #11)
    - #4. Finance and insurance ($47.8 billion, #10)
    - #5. Information ($46.2 billion, #6)
    - #6. Educational services, health care, and social assistance ($45.3 billion, #12)
    - #7. Wholesale trade ($45 billion, #7)
    - #8. Retail trade ($32 billion, #11)
    - #9. Transportation and warehousing ($25.3 billion, #7)
    - #10. Construction ($24.8 billion, #8)

    Although most Georgians work in the service industry, the state's economy has roots in the agricultural sector. Even today, one in seven workers in Georgia toils in agricultural fields, where cotton, peanuts, pecans, eggs, and of course, the famous Georgia peaches are harvested. The state's roots in cotton have also contributed to a rich textile industry today, especially in smaller cities like Macon, Rome, and Augusta.

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